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Embassy Records. The label that reigned supreme, on Woolworth’s counters, from 1955 to 1965.

Come 1964 with a dwindling list of recording artists and the Woolworths contract due for renewal, a contract which for ten years had been the staple of Oriole’s income …in perhaps the worst kept secret of the year, CBS (Columbia - USA) acquired the business. There was some sort of promise by CBS to retain the Oriole style, which lasted about twenty-four hours. Subsequently the Oriole label was collapsed, with most of their recording personnel having their contracts terminated.


Maurice Levy was kept on as chairman in name only, but in truth he retired to his Windsor home and was rarely seen at the business, in 1967 he severed all ties. Maurice never kept many masters, as he believed that if a record was not a big seller there was no requirement to retain them. What happened to any remaining Oriole masters is an ongoing debate. From my enquiries and investigations I believe they were destroyed although there is a suspicion that any original masters that remained were sent to Canada.

Alex Balmforth

(This copy is a digest of an earlier, lengthier article)